Man whose murder charges were dropped sues police detective

Posted at 5:59 PM, Feb 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-11 17:59:39-05

A man who was charged with a cold-case murder on evidence so scant prosecutors wouldn't take the case is suing the Norfolk police detective who interrogated and charged him.

On Tuesday, an attorney for Dahson Iraldo filed the $50,000 lawsuit against Det. J.H. Smith, the officer who charged Iraldo with murder in the 2010 robbery and shooting of barber Henry McIntosh Sr. in his Church St. business. But attorney S.W. Dawson said Iraldo would drop the suit if Norfolk authorities apologize, and explain what evidence they had to charge Iraldo in the first place. Prosecutors dropped the charges before the first court hearing, saying there was not enough evidence to pursue him. Norfolk police later arrested another man, Bernard Kearney, saying they are certain he is the killer.

A Norfolk police spokeswoman directed inquires to the city attorney's office.

The lawsuit was filed on the same day NewsChannel 3 aired an audio recording of the police interrogating Iraldo. In the recording, two police detectives who identify themselves as John Smith and LaToya Mitchell accuse Iraldo of "cold-blooded murder." Police picked up Iraldo on a gun charge two years after the murder. While in custody, detectives accused Iraldo of robbery and homicide. They tell him witnesses, including barbers at the store, identified him as the killer. Iraldo repeatedly denied that, and begged police to give him a lie-detector test. They refused.

"I’m not putting you on the polygraph," one detective tells Iraldo. "I know you did it."

Audio of the interrogation seems to show the detectives getting increasingly frustrated with Iraldo's denials. At several points, Iraldo and the male detective are heard screaming at each other.

"You better sit down, or I am going to put your a-- down," one detective says to Iraldo. "You stand up one more time and I am putting your f---ing a-- in that chair. You understand me?"

Moments later, sounds of what appears to be a scuffle are heard on the recording.

"Sit down!" a detective yells.
"Man, please don’t put grab me no more," Iraldo responds.
"Don’t get up again!"
"Please don’t grab me again."
"I told you not to stand up," the detective says.
"I was buttoning my shirt."
"I don’t give a f---," the detective continues. "I told you not to stand up in here."

RAW AUDIO: Norfolk Police interrogation of Dahson Iraldo

Iraldo never confessed, and denied every accusation. When police left the room to get murder warrants, the microphone catches Iraldo praying.

"Please, God," he says. "Only you know, God. Only you and I know I didn’t do this stuff, man. Please."

When the charges were dropped, sources in Norfolk law enforcement said the detectives' statements to Iraldo that they had eyewitnesses were not true. Iraldo is still in jail on a different charge. Police said they caught him with a gun, and he is a felon who would not be allowed to have one. Kearney, the second man charged with the barber's murder, is the only one charged with McIntosh's murder. Kearney is scheduled for trial next month.